One man’s struggle to stay positive when he was incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit.
Bozella suffered an extremely different childhood within the foster care system and turned to petty theft, but the murder for which he was convicted in 1983 forced him to spend 26 years behind bars. In this candid memoir, the author tells his painful side of the story: how he was accused and found guilty on scant proof and how he spent the next half of his life as a prisoner in Sing Sing and other jails. “Convicted murderer. There’s no way ever to take the sharp edge off those words or grow accustomed to their pain,” he writes. “Especially when they’re a lie, when you’re paying for another man’s crime, your whole life hijacked by people who turned their backs on the truth. That they did it so casually made it all the worse….I was a convenient scapegoat for an ambitious prosecutor and a bumbling police department.” Throughout, Bozella shares specific details that only someone who has spent time in jail would know—e.g., the code of conduct inmates must follow if they want to avoid being attacked by a fellow prisoner; the underground commerce in drugs, food, clothes, and sex and how a pack of cigarettes often takes the place of cash; and the endless hours that need to be filled, which Bozella used to learn foreign languages, certificates in a variety of subjects, and his master’s degree. Throughout his ordeal, the author stayed surprisingly positive and used his instincts as a boxer to help him make the necessary changes in his attitude toward life. When he was finally exonerated, he was able to forgive those who had sent him to prison. “Telling people my story,” he writes, “is the best way I’ve found to turn bitterness into hope.”
A harrowing and inspiring account of fighting a nearly lifelong battle against injustice.